Environment Ministry Fires Back at Foresters over Floods in High Tatras

A forest in the High Tatra mountains damaged by bark beetles. (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 24 (TASR) – Following floods in the High Tatra mountains last week and amid complaints by foresters that too much environmental protection in the area contributed to the sudden flooding, the Environment Ministry this week brushed aside the claims as lacking any solid justification.

“We’re disappointed by the fact that while the Environment Ministry via its water management is looking for rapid solutions on the ground, some foresters from the State Forests have seized the opportunity of a natural disaster to criticise the ministry’s preservationist attitude towards forests,” stated Environment Ministry State Secretary Norbert Kurilla.

As much as 10 percent of the overall precipitation amount fell in the High Tatra mountains within just a few days last week, so it was irrelevant how the local forests had been managed, said Slovak Water Management Company (SVP) technical and operation director Pavel Virag.

“It wasn’t possible to prevent floods with such an enormous amount of precipitation as was seen in the High Tatras – 250 millimetres in three days,” said Virag.

According to state environmental preservationists, even fallen trees can contribute towards keeping more water in the soil than when trees are cut and transported away.

“If anyone believes that a tree stump in a glade can hold some water, I’m ready to return my forestry school diploma,” said Pavol Majko, director of the Tatra National Park (TANAP) management.